Women's accounts of psychiatric illness and institutionalization

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Deinstitutionalization; Female; History, 19th Century; History, 20th Century; Humans; *Institutionalization; Mental Disorders; Women; Writing


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Throughout the past century and a half, American women have written published accounts dealing with their mental illness and its treatment, yet this area of literature has been largely overlooked by those who study the relationship between gender and mental health. In their widely varying accounts--some autobiography, some thinly disguised fiction, and some poetry--women have provided valuable insights into the relationship between their mental illness and its treatment and their roles as wives, daughters, victims, and advocates. The accounts also reflect the impact of female-oriented psychiatric therapies, cultivation of stereotypical female behaviors, and deinstitutionalization policies on women psychiatric patients. The author illustrates these themes with passages from the approximately 175 accounts he has located to date.

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Citation: Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1985 Oct;36(10):1056-62.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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